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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Fingers Crossed!!

Apologies for yet another apology for my absence everyone, but if you can bare with me for just a minute or two, I will explain just why I have been off the radar for so much of this week.
In just two sleep's time, (yes I am five years old at heart!), I will be flying off to the sunny Maldives with my wonderful husband of two years for a two week holiday.
The trip is to celebrate our wedding anniversary and after a difficult year of receiving and accepting my difficult Arachnoiditis diagnosis, along with numerous other challenges life has thrown our way- Garry and I are so looking forward to having some time escaping the emotional roller coaster of life's tests and enjoying some quality time alone.
As exciting as the prospect of going on such a dream holiday is, the trip does not come without it's stress and difficulties bizarrely. I have no doubt that you are currently shouting at your laptop, 'how could there possibly be anything to worry about when you are jetting off to the Indian Ocean, whilst we're left with our awful British weather you crazy girl?'
You are ordinarily right with your assessment and judgement should I be a healthy able bodied traveller- however unfortunately I am disappointed to report that as a disabled traveller, even jetting off on a luxury holiday is not without it's huge stress and complications.
For the past fortnight my life has been ruled by communication back and forth with the travel company that we booked our holiday with and the airline that we are flying with.
As a former air hostess myself, I completely appreciate the need for the airlines to get detailed information of my illness and disability, along with the equipment that I need for travel; my issue comes with the fact that these companies seem to have such little respect for the fact that the disabilities and illnesses that these people are trying to gain information about, more often than not cause fatigue, lack of cognitive function and difficulty keeping up with correspondence due to the fact that their disability, or medication for said disability can cause them to have to have days away from real life confined to their bed.
The communication between the airline and travel company that we are using seems to be non- existentant and we have had repeated requests for information that should have been shared and confirmed months ago. Along with this inadequacy, there also seems to be the same unacceptable level of communication within these companies themselves, as I have had two to three phone calls everyday with requests for details that have already been passed on by myself and Garry.
Last week I phoned both the airline and travel company to confirm that they had all of the doctors letters, medical clearance forms, wheelchair weights and dimensions and medication details that they required so that this week before our holiday would not be ruled and ruined by such stress. Despite my efforts, I am afraid to say that this whole week has been spent constantly on the phone to the travel company and airline with queries and extra demands for information up to today, two days before we are due to fly!!

9th Octopber2011
One day on and I would love to be writing that common sense and decency has prevailed and the constant harassment from the airline has ceased, so that we have been able to enjoy our family day together for my brother's birthday- unfortunately this has been far from true.
This morning I was awoken by yet anothiner phone call from our airline- 'I'm afraid we have bad news Mrs Reader, our doctors in Dubai have decided that they will only let you travel on your high levels of morphine if your husband travels in the same cabin as you'- I have to travel in business class as I can only fly on a flat bed and we can not afford two such tickets, so Garry travels in economy class.
Despite being less than twenty four hours before our flight departs, we were told that we could not receive an answer as to whether the airline would arrange for this upgrade for Garry, seeing as they have deemed it so, so close to departure when they have had these details since May.
This has left us in the position that we have had to spend the day, (one which should have been an exciting, joyful and most importantly stress free occasion for my brother's birthday), extremely stressed and anxious knowing not whether we will actually be going on our holiday of a lifetime for our wedding anniversary at all!
In my opinion this situation is absolutely disgusting and utterly shocking!
Since I have become disabled I have flown with many airlines and although flying with a disability has meant that I have received considerably more stress and complications than I did when I was able-bodied, it hasn't been half as stressful as it has flying with this company.
Paying a hideous amount of money to fly business class with this company , ( which I am only doing because I am disabled and don't have any choice in the matter!), I do not expect to be treated in such an appalling way. Frankly nobody, in any class should be treated in this disgusting way.
For me, the whole holiday starts the night before you travel when the excitment bubbles away inside of you. Instead Garry and \i have spent the evening stressed and on the verge of tears.
I do not know if I am flying in twelve hours time or not. If I do, I will be celebrating my second wedding anniversary jetting off to the Maldives and subsequently won't be around for a fortnight I'm afarid- however, if I don't fly tomorrow, ( as Garry and I can certainly not afford another business class ticket), I will be writing to you tomorrow from my usual spot on the sofa, no doubt causing my laptop to break down through the sheer volume of tears that will be flowing into the keyboard!
Should this situation be the case, I will have no qialms in naming and shaming this airline and I will be contacting my friends within the national press to get this obsurd situation maximum exposre.
What is upsetting me the most is that Garry so desperately needs this holiday. Having it confiurmed a few months ago that my condition is degenerative and that I will never get better, on top of being thrust into a high preassure work situation following his promotion last year- this holiday has been the one thing keeping him going for a while now and it is yet another thing made complicated and potentially ruined by my disability.
Tonight I will be saying a rather self-centred and selfish prayer that this situation be resolved in the morning.
On top of this, I will also be praying that those of you out there who have far more upsetting and difficult problems than this in many ways trival one, find some peace and ease of your pain be it physical or emotional.
I pray for peace and love and understanding amongst us and I hopefully look forward to speaking to you in two weeks time.
Wish us luck. Fingers crossed! x